Police using water cannon on HNDA students during the October 29 protest march.

Cabinet approval has been granted to a proposal to consider the Higher National Diploma in Accountancy (HNDA) as an alternative qualification to the B.Com degree.

According to the government, students who have followed the HNDA course have faced difficulties in applying for public sector vacancies as the Public Administration circular no. 46/90 issued in 1990 considering the HNDA course as an alternative qualification to B.Com degree was nullified by the P.A. circular no. 10/2014 last year. Disappointments have occurred among those diploma holders as the demand from the private sector job opportunities have also been reduced taking this as a precedent.

As about 23,500 students from 142,000 students who qualify for university entrance are being admitted to state universities many of them who have followed the commerce stream tend to join the HNDA course annually. Considering the above fact the proposal made by Lakshman Kiriella, Minister of University Education and Highways, to re-enforce the P.A. circular 46/90 with effect from 23-04-2014, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

HNDA students have been demonstrating against the earlier decision to nullify considering the HNDA course as an alternative the B.Com degree. A protest march held by HNDA students on October 29 to the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the matter ended with police using water cannon, tear gas and a baton charge to break up the protest. Allegations have since been made that the police acted brutally in dispersing the protesters and several inquiries regarding the police’s conduct that day are currently ongoing.